Elena recommended Kate Atkinson to me and I can see why she did. Kate Atkinson is a writer who conjures up an atmosphere with a few well chosen sentences and her stories are cleverly built. Unfortunately, I neither particularly enjoyed the way she writes, nor did I like the atmosphere.
Even though I got used to the elliptical writing style after a while I never got into it. I like it in a title (I wasn’t aware that the title of the book reflected the writing style THAT much), but not in a 400 page book. (Find the book’s beginnings here).
As for the story, I am a novice to Kate Atkinson and have not read the previous Jackson Brodie books. Maybe I should have started with the first book in order to understand better what was going on with him, but to me he seemed to be a whiner who mostly thought of and felt sorry about his previous relationships and who didn’t like himself very much. I probably could have lived with him, but the story is full of characters who all have so many problems and who are so full of self loathing that it was depressing.
A child spending some time with a corpse (this is my deduction, I didn’t get to the revelation of that particular thread), a dead child, a woman in a coma, a spinster who buys a child, an old demented woman, a number of old, and possible corrupt policemen, an adoption officer with a secret, the list is endless. Give me a break!
I am sure that somewhere towards the end all the various storylines – and there were many with time jumps back and forth continuously – came together in this cunning way where you go, "ah, now I see why this was said there and then, and what was the meaning of this and that 200 pages earlier" but I didn’t make it that far. When Jackson Brodie woke up next to a woman whose name he didn’t remember and had to sneak out of her house I was finished with the book. Sorry, but I do want to enjoy reading and not dread what might come next.
However, if you enjoy a real downer of a book, I recommend this one.